It’s interesting what a person can find on Amazon Prime when they search, especially since some of the movies and shows there can remind us of what today’s actors looked like a long time ago a decade or more. Released in 2005, The Quiet is a rather understated film and offers more drama than mystery or thrill, but it’s still disturbing when you remember their teenage years and what it was sometimes like. Having left to live with her godparents when her mother died, Dot is a deaf-mute teenager who can read lips and communicate in sign language with a few people in the story. Nina, the daughter of Olivia and Paul Deer, who welcome Dot, resents the young woman’s place at home and makes her dissatisfaction known more than once. But the thing here is that Nina is not only an arrogant young woman who is popular, part of the cheerleading squad and is absolutely gorgeous, she also has a secret that would probably ruin her. if she should go out.
The secret is revealed fairly quickly in the film as it is revealed that Paul and Nina are engaged in an incestuous relationship which is enough to make his stomach turn as Nina uses him to get by, while his mother, who has an addiction to prescription drugs, is quite desperate as she cannot arouse or satisfy her husband, as his attentions are lavished elsewhere. When Dot finds out about the situation between Nina and Paul, she decides to side with Nina, even though the other woman doesn’t fully accept her support. Instead, Nina continues to be stuck, but she seems grateful at least for the interruption Dot creates when she “accidentally” breaks a vase in the hallway outside Nina’s bedroom one night, smashing the moment between Nina and Paul.
But it’s not until Nina comes home one day and notices Dot playing the piano that she notices something telling. Dot swears out loud when she messed up a key, then attempts to harmonize with the piano while continuing to play. The realization that Dot can speak and hear triggers something in Nina as the next day at school she confesses to Dot that she plans to kill her father, as Nina instinctively knows Dot won’t say anything because it would amount to reveal his secret. Keeping it a secret, Nina continues to tend to her father and his sickening romantic advances while her mother does next to nothing but be zoned out half the time. On the other hand, Dot catches the eye of a basketball player at their school, a young man named Connor, as he begins hanging out with her after becoming Dot’s partner in a lab class. When Dot and Connor have sex at one point, he ends up telling her a few personal things about himself, still thinking she can’t speak or hear. But the look on her face after they do the deed makes it clear that she’s not sure what to think, but it’s nothing good.
At one point, Nina lies to her dad telling him she’s pregnant, which comes across as a huge problem, not to mention an extremely disturbing problem as her dad is beside himself as he tries to think how to run things. Dot and Nina continue to grow somewhat closer throughout the film, but at the same time she remains angry and distant until the school dance, which she encourages Dot to attend. Before they can get to the ball, however, Paul finds tampons in Nina’s purse and physically confronts her as he demands to know why she would lie to him. Considering she almost pressed a hot iron to her face earlier, you can feel this confrontation was coming. But as Dot hears the commotion of Paul threatening to rape his daughter, she grabs a length of piano wire and rushes upstairs, strangling Paul with the wire until he drops dead. Initially, Nina expresses her sadness over her father’s death, but they always end up going to prom with Nina’s friends.
At the prom, Dot reveals to Connor that she can speak and hear, and he rejects her outright despite having told her several private things and feels betrayed. Eventually, Dot and Nina end up leaving the dance to go home and find police cars lined up outside her house. They find out that Nina’s mother confessed to killing her husband and she apologizes to Nina for letting the incest go on for so long before she was taken away. In a way, one can easily imagine that Olivia finds it a relief since she is freed from her emotionally abusive husband and has finally been able to protect her daughter. It’s a film that has a definite ending after offering a less than clear beginning, but it’s easy for parents to think that it would be a maddening story.